Annual report

Veterinary Board of the Northern Territory, Annual Report 2014-15

Membership of the Board in 2014-2015

President: Dr Kevin de Witte

Deputy president: Dr Ian Gurry

Members: Dr Shane Bartie, Dr Elizabeth Stedman

Community representative: Ms Marion Davey

Registrar: Susan Gillis

Meetings of the Board

From 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 the Board met on six occasions. Meetings are held at CS Robinson Building, Berrimah Farm, Makagon Road, Berrimah.

President’s report

I am pleased to present the Annual Report of the Veterinary Board for the NT for the year ended 30 June 2015.

The Board recognizes that changes to legislation are necessary. The Veterinarians Act is in need of updating to modernize the legislation and to enable the NT to harmonise its work with that of other jurisdictions. This is particularly important now that the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments have agreed to National Recognition of Veterinary Registration (NRVR). The NT participates in the work of the Australian Veterinary Boards Council which will facilitate national recognition and hence facilitate the move of veterinary surgeons between jurisdictions.

The development of a new Veterinarians Act will take time and the processes for implementing a national recognition of veterinary registration (NRVR) are considered by the Board to be a priority. The Board strongly supports NRVR and will continue to work on its implementation.

The Board has continued a busy schedule. The Board sets high standards for professional competence in order to ensure public protection.

The Board has been active in the affairs of the Australasian Veterinar y Boards Council (AVBC), on which it is represented by Dr Elizabeth Stedman and Board Registrar Susan Gillis. This year the AVBC conference was held in Brisbane. The Board supports the AVBC efforts to promote cooperation in strategic planning for the future of registered veterinary surgeons and help improve veterinary services provided to the community.

The terms of two Board members ended on 2 June 2015. Nominations were sought and there were only two nominations from Dr Ian Gurry and Dr Shane Bartie. The two veterinarians were duly appointed as no other nominations were received. Dr Richard Morton also retired from the Board in April of 2015. Dr Elizabeth Stedman was appointed by the Minister on the Board’s request. My appreciation is extended to all members of the Board for their considerable efforts during the year and over the term of their appointments. The Board also thanked Dr Morton for his valuable contribution during his term on the Board and wished him well for the future.

Registration

At 30 June 2015, 263 veterinary surgeons had current registrations in the NT. The Board continued to process applications for initial registrations and registrations under the provisions of the Mutual Recognition Act.

Number of registrants

Financial year

2012

2013

2014

2015

Total

210

232

278

263

Chart of registrations

Chart of registrations 

Activities

The Board addressed the following topics during the year:

  • professional standards for veterinary surgeons
  • continuing professional development
  • national recognition of veterinary registration
  • policy/guideline review.

Complaints and disciplinary action

The Board recognises that many complaints emerge from poor communication between parties about the service to be provided or the service that is provided. This can result in intransigence from both parties in resolving complaints.

In the 2014-15 financial year the Board is pleased to report that all complaints made to the Board have been processed and resolved.

The Board investigated a number of complaints or professional standards issues throughout the year.

Matters of significance

National recognition of veterinary registration

The Board supports the process being put in place to move towards National Recognition of Veterinary Registration (NRVR). Each jurisdiction will retain its own board and legislation but will recognise registration in other jurisdictions as a right to practice in every jurisdiction without further registration. This will achieve mobility of veterinary surgeons between jurisdictions and assist in the aim of achieving consistency of standards. The Board hopes to introduce processes in the next twelve months to recognise NRVR in the NT with the review of the Veterinarians Act.

Continuing veterinary professional development

Although the current legislation does not mandate continuing professional development (CPD) or link it to the annual renewal of veterinary registration process, registered veterinarians have a duty under the Northern Territory Veterinarians Act and Code of Conduct prescribed in the Regulations to maintain contemporary professional standards of veterinary science.

Sections 28(1)(a) and 28(2) of the Veterinarians Act, provide that a registered veterinarian is taken to be incompetent in or connection with the provision of a veterinary service if he or she is unable or fails to uphold or maintain contemporary professional standards.

In addition, the Code of Conduct requires at clause 4(1) that “A registered veterinarian must maintain knowledge of the current standards of practice of veterinary surgery or veterinary medicine in the areas of veterinary science relevant to his or her practice” 

It is therefore essential that veterinarians actively seek to keep abreast of new advances and current standards of veterinary science in their chosen field of veterinary practice. 

Northern Territory registered veterinarians need to take note that Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is already mandatory in most other jurisdictions in Australia and will need to be included in proposed amendments to the Northern Territory Veterinarians Act in the interest of:

  • achieving consistency and uniformity in Veterinary Board requirements across all States and Territories (which is an important part of the national recognition of veterinary registration process)
  • meeting community expectations and maintaining consumer confidence in the veterinary profession.

Finances

A summary of the Board’s finances is provided for information.

Revenue – new registration and renewal fees

$14,954.09

Expenditure (includes registrar's salary, Board sitting fees and operational expenditure)

$118,606.27

Liaison with Australian Veterinary Association (AVA)

The Board maintains liaison with the AVA to ensure a free exchange of views and information. The AVA provides continuing education, mentoring and other forms of assistance to veterinarians in the NT. This is particularly important for new graduates.

The Board takes this opportunity to acknowledge the cooperation of the AVA.

Malcolm Anderson
President

Contact the Veterinary Board of the Northern Territory.

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Last updated: 10 May 2017